Cabinet meets as Boujikian secures quorum for FPM-boycotted session

The caretaker cabinet convened Monday morning at the Grand Serail after two ministers defied a declared Free Patriotic Movement boycott and secured quorum for a session described by caretaker PM Najib Mikati as an emergency meeting.

A statement released overnight had declared a boycott of the session. The statement carried the names of the caretaker ministers of foreign affairs, justice, defense, economy, social affairs, energy, tourism, industry and the displaced. A two-thirds quorum was however secured for the session by caretaker Industry Minister George Boujikian of the Tashnag Party which is allied with the FPM.

Caretaker Social Affairs Minister Hector Hajjar later joined the session and voiced an opposing stance before walking out of it after failing to convince Mikati to stop it.

"I understand the humanitarian issues but the problem is somewhere else and this government has not won (parliamentary) confidence, and we should have consulted with each other to run the country's affairs," Hajjar said after his withdrawal.

"I asked caretaker PM Najib Mikati to make a step backwards, but he insisted on continuing the session, so I voiced my stance and walked out," Hajjar added.

Speaking after the session, Mikati said decisions were taken in the file of the cancer, dialysis and incurable diseases patients and in the file of OGERO's funds.

Social aid for servicemen and pensioners was also approved according to caretaker Information Minister Ziad Makari.

Mikati also said that some agenda articles were dropped based on the request of some ministers, revealing that there will be a meeting at 3pm for the ministers who attended and those who boycotted to "agree on a work mechanism."

Responding to media reports in some newspapers, Mikati stressed that there is no "king minister" and that all ministers are "servants of the Lebanese."

Mikati had argued that the caretaker cabinet needs to approve urgent matters, including a decree related to medical services offered to cancer and dialysis patients.

The FPM has meanwhile repeatedly warned against holding cabinet sessions amid the ongoing presidential vacuum, labeling such a move as an attack on the president’s powers.

Source: Naharnet

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